Access Alcona to meet Tuesday

LINCOLN – In an effort to get high-speed broadband Internet access county-wide, an Alcona County leadership group is hosting a panel of experts at a public meeting Tuesday evening.

Access Alcona is the outgrowth of a Michigan State University Extension program to encourage leadership in the county, said Bonnie Wichtner-Zoia. As a result, Internet advocacy members are hoping to encourage the development of high-speed access in the county’s remote, rural interior.

While residents along the coast of Lake Huron can watch movies and communicate instantly with friends through email and Facebook, not so in Alcona’s lightly populated interior.

“This public roundtable will bring together experts, service providers, and others to help residents better understand the complexity and challenges of broadband and Internet coverage,” Wichtner-Zoia said.

Broadband, when available, also has other benefits, said Dan Manning, community technology adviser for Connect Michigan.

“People also can work from home, so that opens up the possibility of them getting better jobs,” he said Friday.

“There also are online education programs,” he said. “You can take college courses online. You can do online banking, and entertainment certainly is a big part of it, downloading movies and TV shows.”

Participants at the meeting will have the opportunity to ask questions and provide input of a general nature, Wichtner-Zoia said. However, the forum isn’t designed to handle individual issues about internet service.

Betsy Lehndorff can be reached via email at blehndorff@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Betsy on Twitter @bl_alpenanews.